“We Don’t Take the Pledge”: Environmentality and environmental skepticism at the epicenter of US wind energy development Academic Article uri icon


  • This study analyzes pro-wind, " anti-environmental" discourses prevalent among key stakeholders in Nolan County, Texas, the epicenter of US wind power. We draw upon interviews conducted within a Q-method study to examine environmental views held by key actors in wind-farm development. We frame our analysis within the theoretical field that engages the formation of environmental subjects, defined as the process through which individuals and communities align their environmental practices with state ends. We argue that this is a process that can be incomplete or in tension with other subject positions, which together may lead to unexpected environmental views. We introduce " environmental skepticism," defined as a rejection of ecological science steeped in deep anthropocentrism and possessive individualism, as a dominant counter-narrative informing certain environmental subjectivities. The remainder of the paper describes Texas wind stakeholders' views or subject positions on energy and the environment and reveals how environmental skepticism is not overturned even as renewable energy supports the local economy. We analyze wind stakeholders' environmental subjectivity in terms of emergent subject positions as " reflexive environmental skepticism," a view that accepts the economic products, processes, and policy innovations advocated by ecological modernization without accepting the core claim that innovations are required to adapt to environmental change. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

author list (cited authors)

  • Jepson, W., Brannstrom, C., & Persons, N.

citation count

  • 59

publication date

  • June 2012